Global Yacht Transport


A Guide to Transportation

Transporting a yacht to a new cruising destination can be a complicated and daunting operation. We have prepared this guide to assist owners transporting their yacht to new destinations as well as to ensure you are fully informed on all basic areas of yacht shipping and have a clear idea of the processes involved.

Further information detailing the more complex elements such as customs clearance, port clearance / handling, health and safety requirements and any other requirements that may be present will be advised by the Peters & May sales representative you will be dealing with through the process of your booking.


Pre Loading

The basic principle is to prepare your yacht as if you were going to sea (which it is – but you’re not going with it). Make her as light and as secure as possible. Follow our A-Z Checklist available here.

Remember – remove, secure and lock…

  • Secure any loose items, in or on the yacht, that could come loose during transit and cause damage.
  • Close and lock hatches, lockers, portholes and doors.


What Happens On The Day Of Loading?

Lifting, cradling and lashing

According to your booking, either you or your representative will be required to deliver the yacht to a pre-agreed destination for lifting.

  • If arriving by water, contact the P&M loadmaster (or assigned liaison officer) to confirm location of the berth/ship and the position at which to come alongside.
  • Back stays, topping lifts, and triatic stays will be required to be loosened. This is your responsibility or that of the designated delivery skipper. It must be known how to disconnect and tighten; and appropriate tools should be accessible. This should be completed prior to your lift. Stays that are not prepared in advance of lifting will incur a delay charge.
  • Once alongside the quay or ship, lifting gear will be positioned over the yacht, the loadmaster will board the yacht and the diver will enter the water. Between them they will co-ordinate the correct positioning and slinging of the boat.
  • When everyone is satisfied and the yacht is safe to lift, she will be lifted from the water and offered up to the cradle. Final adjustments are made to the cradle before settling and releasing the yacht from the crane.
  • The yacht will then be lashed to the cradle and/or deck using lashing points such as cleats, bollards etc. These strains are slightly more than those applied during normal use of your yacht when moored or anchored.  You will need to check that the fittings are sturdy prior to shipment.

Handing over the yacht

Once the yacht is settled and secured to the cradle, ensure fenders and warps are taken aboard and secured. Go through the A to Z check list a final time.

  • If there have been any incidents during the loading operation, please ensure this is reported and photographed accordingly.
  • Keys are to be left on board the yacht. They are to be secured somewhere suitable and their location passed to the attending surveyor.

Once the ship has departed, you will be given an estimated time of arrival (ETA). However, due to unforeseen and uncontrollable events such as the weather, the shipment may be delayed. We will keep you updated as often as possible to minimise disruption.

On Arrival

Collection of your yacht

If you are receiving your yacht yourself (or via your representative), you will be fully informed of where to go and the relevant processes in which to follow to safely access the vessel and take delivery of your yacht. Peters & May can also assist in sourcing a local skipper if required and this can be discussed with your sales representative for more information.

Prior to discharge, ensure that everything is in place where required and that you have the boat keys so you can leave with your yacht swiftly as soon as she has been offloaded into the water and the loadmaster confirmed you can leave.

If the discharge takes place at anchor, please note that there is an increased risk – do not stay alongside the vessel for longer than required and leave swiftly once received confirmation from the loadmaster.


Our loadmasters are instrumental in the loading and discharging or your yacht across the globe. They are at the forefront of operations dealing with port staff and stevedores worldwide and they have the experience to know when a safe operation is possible.

Both prior and during the loading / discharge, the loadmasters are always in close contact with our technical department to ensure the loading and discharge are executed as per the agreed detailed plans. Our loadmasters’ experience guarantees they command the delicate authority needed to oversee and instil trust and confidence throughout the operation.

Loadmaster role includes:

  • Preparation of all required loading / discharge equipment
  • Oversee and manage all loading / discharge operations
  • Co-ordination of third parties including divers, ship’s crew etc.
  • Client point of contact on the day of loading / discharge
  • Skills to design bespoke lifting gear and cradling solutions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to cover my yacht?

You do not need to cover your yacht, however this can be arranged if required. There are a number of positive and negative factors associated with arranging a shipping cover which are influenced by elements such as the time of shipment, weather conditions, loading / discharging ports, yachts hull material/paint, type of yacht etc.

If you would like more information regarding a shipping cover, please raise the question to your Peters & May sales representative and they will go through the process in more detail, after which you can then make a fully informed decision on whether to proceed or not.

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What about cradles?

Peters & May have a wide range of bespoke tried and tested shipping cradles to suit all shapes and sizes of yachts. We will be able to match your yacht with the right cradle for the job.

  • The cradle used must be suitable for shipping – those designed for yachts at rest in boatyards will be unable to withstand the pitch and roll on the deck of a ship and may result in your yacht moving in the cradle or the cradle collapsing. Own cradles will need to be approved by our technical team.
  • Custom built or unusual yachts are likely to need specialist cradling and we will be happy to advise and assist.

How easy is it to measure my yacht?

As the shipping process is based entirely on key dimensions – length, beam, height and weight – it is essential for them to be correct.

  • Make sure you include parts of the yacht that protrude, such as davits, aerials, radar arches, pulpits, etc.
  • It is important to note that any variations in dimensions given may result in additional charges being levied or the non-shipment of your yacht. You know your yacht better than anyone, any anomalies with lifting positions, packing and blocking or slings or protruding fittings should be highlighted to the team at the earliest opportunity.

What about customs?

Customs clearance and documentation can be complex and will vary from yacht to yacht and country to country. The implications of getting it wrong can be serious and expensive. However, with thorough preparation, the correct documentation and proper handling, it is a simple process. Please speak to our experienced customs experts who will be able to guide you through every step.

Will my normal yacht insurance cover the transportation?

Generally speaking, annual hull insurance only provides cover for normal boating activities and does not cover sea or road transportation. Marine Cargo Insurance is required to cover such shipment and we can provide you with a quote if you wish.

  • When requesting rates, consider replacement value, shipping costs and accessories on board the yacht; as a guide we recommend total value + freight costs (Note that insurance excesses will apply)
  • Remember to advise your current insurer of your planned move to ensure you have coverage in your new cruising grounds.

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